While we Buddies usually get cases referred either from Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh and Hospital Taiping, of late I’m beginning to get cases referred by others. 2 weeks ago, a JKM officer from another district called me to refer a case (read my previous posting). Then last week, the staff nurse at a hospital not covered by our volunteers called to refer a new case to me.
For the usual cases referred to us at HRPB or Hospital Taiping, we do have our volunteers on duty at the hospital and so the nurses would usually introduce the new patients to us. Our volunteers would get to meet and talk to the patients before letting them decide whether or not they wanted our services.
When cases are referred to us by others, we only get their details and it is up to us to approach them. It is usually not as easy to gain their trust just by talking to them on the phone.
But for this new case referred by the staff nurse, it wasn’t too difficult for me to get the lady to open up although she had never met me before. She immediately gave her consent when I asked if I could visit her at home.
Since this lady stays at a district covered by the JKM office that I went to last week, I called the JKM officer to inform him of this new case and he agreed to go for a joint visit to this lady’s place.
And so this morning we went for the visit. I drove over to the JKM office, and this time we went for the visit in JKM’s vehicle. Yay!! I didn’t have to drive. Off the 4 of us (2 JKM officers, the driver and myself) headed over to the lady’s place. If it was up to me, I would have to use my GPS to get to the kampong, and then from there on, I’d either have to ask around, or I’d have to call the lady to ask for directions. But the JKM officers and the driver was quite familiar with the place and so we got there without any problem. It was only when we wanted to find the exact unit where she was staying that I had to call her. Apparently we had to walk to the back rows to get to the house so what she did was, she walked out to look for us. So there we were, she was looking for a lady talking on the phone while trying to look for her… and I was looking for the other lady talking on the phone while trying to look for me…
This lady stays at a makeshift home, built by her late father-in-law. The place comes without any title whatsoever, the land belongs to the plantation, and they are allowed to stay there as long as the plantation don’t intend to develop the place. So while she and her children may have a roof over their heads for the moment, in future anything can happen.
As for her monthly income, she sells vegetables at a stall in front of the nearby market. Since her husband died a few months ago, she had to depend on a friend, who’s also a vegetable seller, to get supplies for her. While her late husband did leave behind a motorbike, this lady doesn’t know how to ride a bike, having been too dependent on her husband all the while. Now she is dependent on the friend to help her out, so if for whatever reason the friend can’t go to get supplies of vegetables, she won’t be getting any supplies either. In other words, her monthly income is not fixed.
I told her that Buddies will be helping out with her children’s educational needs. And the JKM officer seemed keen to help her out as well, leaving her the form, telling her how to fill it up and what documents to get.
Other than reminding her about the importance of not missing any of her hospital appointments (she’s not on HAART yet), I also emphasized to her the importance of education for her children. She must have discussed the matter with her children later today when they came back from school (by then we had already left) because I got a text message from her, seeking my advice for her 2nd son who’s not so academically-inclined but has an interest in electronics and mechanical stuff.
Considering it was just our first meet this morning, I think that was a very good start.